Given that the academic year is back underway, I haven't been able to follow the Twins much in the last few weeks. Thankfully, that means I haven't missed much.
And now, this week's View from the Ballpark:
Though the home of two teams, this unique, if not beautiful, ballpark is likely to be replaced in the next decade.
Remember, no embiggening.
Twins record: 59-92
MLB Game Wrap
I think Alex Burnett is the werewolf.
Hitters of the Week: Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee
Pitcher of the Week: Jim Hoey
Stop me if you've heard this before, but the Twins lost again to extend another losing streak. This one is at seven and it is the sixth losing streak of at least six games this season. The Twins are 0-40 in those losing streaks and 59-51 the rest of the time. I imagine that's not all that unusual for teams this bad, but the Twins have been real streaky this season. It's hard to remember that they actually won eight games in a row at one point. Then again, the Twins haven't won as much as three in a row since July 5, which happened to be the one game I attended.
But this time of year for a last-place team isn't about wins and losses, especially when you only have one member of your Opening Day lineup available to play and only one member of your original five-man rotation still pitching in the rotation. And let's face it. Any wins now only hurt the Twins' draft position and have no real tangible benefit. It's just about pride now.
This is about seeing the kids playing and seeing some hope for the future and the last two games have been good in that sense. On Friday, it was Joe Benson showing why he's considered by some to be the Twins' top prospect that could actually make the team next year when he went 4-for-4 with three extra-base hits against a very tough right-hander in Ubaldo Jiminez. In this game, it was Chris Parmelee showing why the Twins took him in the first round of the draft, going 3-for-3 with a walk and his first-career home run. Parmelee is now batting .357 in the bigs and more impressively has five walks and just four strikeouts.
Weather: 56 degrees, overcast
Wind: 14 mph, R to L
Yeah, it was just like old times. Jim Thome steps to the plate at Target Field and belts a solo shot, career home run #603. Only this time he was wearing an Indians uniform again, Joe Nathan was trying to keep the game even, and the home run made the difference between a potential come-from-behind Twins win and another Twins loss. So it goes.
Kevin Slowey had another poor outing for the Twins, going just four innings and giving up five runs on seven hits. But what the hell, this is the time of year when everything heads south, so we really shouldn't expect any different.
The one bright spot in the game for the Twins was Joe Benson, who damn near hit for the cycle and provided a good chunk of the team's offense, scoring three runs with a 4-for-4 night. Benson has doubled in four of his last five games, and six of his nine hits in the Majors have gone for extra bases. His four hits were the most for a Twins rookie since Danny Valencia did it last year.
Twins win, right?! Right? Oh, Letters to the Editor don't count towards the final score of the actual game. I'm sorry. Yes, indeed, the Twins lost.
Twins 3, Royals 7
LP: Hendriks (0-2) WP: Hoe-shaver (11-11)
Save? no. I'm not counting the Greg Holland effort as a save even if the box score on MLB.com says he earned one. No way. Not going to count. I'm not even going to look at the King of the Savers leader board because I'm enraged that the official scored actually believed the Twins could possibly rally to threaten the Royals lead in the ninth. Puh-lease. How dare the powers that be issue a sacred save in such a decidedly un-save like situation. boo.
Okay, yeah, now that I'm over my save-rage induced fit I'll commence with the recapage. Liam Hendriks started his second ball game today and lost. He went five innings giving up eight hits, five earned runs while striking out only 2 batters. The good news? He walked zero, zilch, nada batters today. Bert must be pleased with his performance, that is, of course, unless he left the ball up in the zone. Truth be told, I don't know if there were many balls left up in the zone, I was busy finishing a print that's due on Friday, but I'll assume that because the Royals didn't hit any home runs off of him that Hendriks didn't leave any balls up. Waldrop pitched two thirds of an inning and gave up two runs. The rest of the bullpen gave up 3 hits and no runs, Hoey included. Wierd, right? The Twins offense offered up eight hits and three runs. Mauer went oh-fer with three walks. I'd ask for my money back, but I live out of state. The "defense" offered up three errors, and Plouffe (!) records of them. Some puss threw the ball away on some play that I didn't see to give the Twins another error on the field today. Frankly, I don't know how to read what happened in during the bottom half of the fourth inning, and being that the Twins couldn't scrape together enough hits / runs to win this garbage I don't care to decipher what actually happened.
Culture Club: Kansas City is chalk full of fine art. No joak. There is so much happening in KC that I don't know where to start, but the Nelson-Atkins is definitely worth the price of admission. They have world class exhibitions (most of which are FREE (hint, hint, DG...), a fantastic facility, and a beautiful sculpture grounds. Through the 15th of November they have an exhibition of night sky and cosmos photography, and coming in October they'll be showing Romare Beardon's prints. I highly recommend a stop by the Nelson-Atkins Museum if you're going to be in KC to see the Twins lose.
Twins record: 59-87
MLB Game Wrap
Hey, the Rays won again and swept the Red Sox today. That puts them...three and a half games back with seventeen to play. Wild card race fever: catch it!!!!1
Hitter of the Week: Mrs. Dinkelman
Pitcher of the Week: Mrs. Parmelee
Such is the way of things for the Twins. They finally get some good pitching and they can't score enough to win. I would make a joke about the Gophers' abomination today, but it doesn't seem right after Coach Kill's seizure on the sidelines. I guess his honeymoon period will last at least another week.
At least Joe Benson finally got his first hit, but then promptly threw it away by getting picked off on the old fake-to-third and throw-to-first play to help turn a first-and-third and no outs into no runs. If the Twins get a run there, they probably have Joe Nathan on the ninth to protect a one-run lead. Of course, if they got the four runs they scored yesterday in today's game instead, they probably win and would be looking for a series win tomorrow.
Oh well. That is what the Twins have to deal with with so many injured or traded away. At least they're getting an idea of what the young players can do and what holes they need to fill in the future.
Great job by Swarzak, who gave up just two runs in six innings with six Ks and two walks. He could end up being pretty useful as a minimum-wage pitcher. The rookie callups, Benson and Parmelee, reached based four times in 8 PAs. The rest of the team reached base four times in 24 PAs and that includes Mauer reaching 3 times in 4 PAs, which means the other six guys were 1-for-20. Yikes!
Twins 5, Whities 4
WP: Hot Carl
SAVE (1): Joe Nathan
Twins Record 59-84 ---->.5 games into the cellar. Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
King of the Savers race update: Craig Kimbrel and Dancie McDouche are knotted atop the leader board with 42 saves apiece. As was noted during the game log the Twins are perfect in converting saves since firing Shortening from the traditional closer role. Small, moral victories are still victories.
Wow. The Twins stink. No, really, they actually smell bad. As a cost saving measure, the front office has turned off the water in the clubhouse for the remainder of the season. They're hoping that Michael Lewis will take note of their radical attempt to change how the game is played. The ensuing movie will undoubtedly star Gene Hackman as the grizzled veteran manager who has to deal with the injuries, the prima donna, and the young upstarts that light a fire which lands the team in the cellar. I'd pay a nickle to watch that movie.
The Twins won this one, although it wasn't a pretty performance. Danny V stroked a blooper with the bases loaded to open the scoring in the third inning. I read that the Twins had been 0-24 this series with RISP before Danny V, and I couldn't believe the number wasn't more like 0-200. Hot Carl was a bit shaky on the mound. He finished the night pitching five and a third innings, allowing 10 hits, 3 runs (only one of which was earned) walking one, and striking out one. Both AJ Burnette and Jose Mijares pitched in tight situations during the 6th inning, but left without causing further harm. The official scorer handed out 4 holds for the Twins bullpen, with perkins the only relief pitcher allowing a run to score. Luke Hughes should have been thrown out attempting to seal second in the bottom of the 6th, but instead no one was covering the bag and the throw ended up in the outfield allowing Hughes to score. Awesome. Joe Nathan came on and pitched a perfect ninth striking out two batters, neither of which were Adam Dunn.
Culture Club: The next time you're up nort stop by the Duluth Art Institute. They've been an influence and a resource for many emerging artists from Minnesota, and the region, for more than 100 years. Their mission is to create a diverse, creative community of art makers and appreciators. Their current exhibit features a former studio mate of mine.
The 2011 Twins in a nutshell.
When does Spring Training start?
Twins record: 58-81
MLB Game Wrap
I give Kevin Slowey a solid 7-star rating for today's game. However, I give the offense (non-Mauer division) an absolutely-serious, whopping 1-star rating. No, I did not listen dispassionately before I rated.
Hitter of the Week: Trevor Plouffe
Pitcher of the Week: Kevin Slowey